KUALA LUMPUR, 10 Sept 2008: The transfer of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy case to the High Court for trial has been put on hold following objections by the defence which is challenging the validity of the transfer certificate signed by Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail.
Sessions Court judge S M Komathy Suppiah fixed 24 Sept to hear submissions on the matter after granting the defence two weeks to do research and prepare its submission.
Komathy gave the defence time to be fair to them because they were only informed of the prosecution’s intention to apply to transfer the case 10 minutes before the proceedings began today.
The judge also gave the same benefit to the prosecution for a more detailed submission on the matter.
Anwar, 61, is charged with voluntarily committing carnal intercourse against the order of nature with his former aide, Mohamad Saiful Bukhari Azlan, 23, at Unit 11-5-1, Kondominium Desa Damansara, Jalan Setiakasih, Bukit Damansara between 3.01pm and 4.30pm on 26 June.
The Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) advisor and newly appointed Opposition leader in the Dewan Rakyat following his victory in the Permatang Pauh parliamentary by-election faces a maximum penalty 20 years under Section 377B of the Penal Code if convicted.
The section also provides for liability of whipping but this only applies to persons below the age of 50. Anwar is free on a personal bond of RM20,000 without surety.
Earlier, his counsel, Sulaiman Abdullah, told the court that it was the defence stand that there was no necessity for the case to be transferred to the High Court because Komathy was a capable and experienced judge.
Sulaiman later objected when the head of the prosecution unit in the Attorney-General’s Chambers, Datuk Mohamed Yusof Zainal Abiden, tendered the certificate for transfer of the case under Section 418 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
Sulaiman said the certificate was signed by Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail who was under investigation by the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) following a police report lodged by Anwar over the alleged fabrication of evidence in Anwar’s "black eye" incident in 1998.
"We were informed that Abdul Gani would play no part whatsoever in this prosecution following the police report made by Anwar against him on 1 July 2008,” he said.
Sulaiman said that in the report, it was stated that Anwar believed that the Inspector-General of Police, Musa Hassan, and Abdul Gani were present in Bukit Aman and knew about the assault on Anwar by the former Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Rahim Noor in the lock-up.
Anwar also believed that both were also involved in the second medical report prepared by one Dr Rahman stating that Anwar’s injuries were inconsistent with a direct blow.
Sulaiman said that as a result of the police report, Abdul Gani was interviewed by the ACA on 16 and 21 July and ACA decision had yet to be announced.
Sulaiman submitted that the prime minister had also said that Abdul Gani would not be involved in any way in the prosecution of this case.
Komathy said she hoped that the prosecution would not object to the defence’s application for more time to prepare submission, to which Yusof said the prosecution was objecting but was leaving it to the court to decide.
He said the case was of public interest and was a very high profile case because it involved Anwar.
Komathy granted Sulaiman’s application for time after ruling that there was no rush to transfer the case.
Solicitor-General Datuk Idrus Harun, who is leading the prosecution team of six deputy public prosecutors – Datuk Nordin Hassan, Hanafiah Zakaria, Wong Chiang Kiat, Farhan Read and Shamsul Sulaiman – was absent today.
The defence team comprises of Sulaiman, R Sivarasa, Sankara N Nair, Leela Jesuthasan, Edmund Bon, Saiful Idham Ramli, Amer Hamzah Arshad, Latheefa Koya and Mohd Radzlan Jalaludin. – Bernama